Web Design and SEO Blog

Aug20174

What You Need to Know About Google’s New Ad Blocker

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Google, Industry News

Google's new ad blocker.

Google announced its plans to release an ad filter for Chrome next year. Although it may sound counterintuitive for a company who makes most of its revenue from advertising to block ads, Google has a solid plan.

Specifics have not been released by Google yet, but Senior Vice President of Google, Sridhar Ramaswamy, states that their goal is to support websites and users by making online ads less annoying to “maintain a sustainable web for everyone.” It will work on both mobile and desktop and follow what the Coalition for Better Ads refer to as “Better Ads Standards.” It is important to note here that Google is a primary member of the Coalition for Better Ads — and that this will most certainly give Google an unprecedented amount of power over advertisers and publishers.

What are “Better Ads Standards”?
The Better Ads Standards are based off of data gathered from over 25,000 users tested on both desktop and mobile interfaces. Ads that did not make the cut for a “good” experience were:
  • Ads with sound
  • Popup ads
  • Ads that cover content with a countdown
  • Large, sticky ads
  • Flashing, animated ads
  • Auto-playing videos
  • Full-screen scrollovers
The ads that Google Chrome’s new ad blocker actually blocks will be based off of these standards — annoying or intrusive advertisements, like videos that autoplay with sound or interstitials that take up the entire screen. But there are drawbacks to building an ad blocker into Chrome: most notably, the amount of power it gives Google.

Why we should be skeptical.
No matter your opinion of ad blockers, there are a few red flags to take note of with Google’s newest business venture:
  • Chrome’s Browser Share — Chrome currently holds 54% of desktop and mobile browser share, meaning this new ad blocker will, by default, be enabled for a significant majority of internet users.
  • Google’s relationship with ad blockers — Google has already been paying off ad blockers to keep its own ads visible, offering companies 30% of their advertisement revenue.
  • Google’s relationship with other advertisers — by positioning themselves as the gatekeepers of what constitutes acceptable advertising, Google is giving themselves (as the world's largest advertising company) what might constitute an unfair advantage over their competition.
  • Google’s relationship with publishers — With this new ad blocker, Google is including an option for visitors to pay websites that they’re blocking ads on, through a program it’s calling Funding Choices. Publishers will have to enable support for this feature individually and it would guarantee them a revenue stream, either through charging consumers for an ad-free experience, or from the ads themselves.
After the launch of their ad blocker for Chrome, Google will have not only have control of the online advertising market, but the online ad blocking market as well — they will unashamedly determine not only what we see, but also what we don’t see in the name of an improved experience.
Jul201731

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Company Slogans

by Mira Brody in Content, Tools & Tips

Business slogan tips.

Not every business has a slogan, but if you’re one that does, you’ll understand that they are a huge part of your branding and overall marketing strategy. A good slogan will engage customers and promote a company, while a poorly-executed one can destroy credibility.

The Good

Although there is no concrete formula, here are a few qualities that have built successful slogans in the past.

Memorability — To be effective, a company slogan needs to be memorable. A classic is the “Got Milk?” campaign by the California Milk Processor Board, made famous by the 1993 “Who Shot Alexander Hamilton?” commercial. To this day, the phrase “Got ___?” is used as homage to that original campaign.

Show your company’s mission — A slogan should exemplify the company’s mission, what they believe in and what they can provide their consumers. This rings true with Disneyland’s motto: “The happiest place on earth.”

Why you’re better — Some successful slogans simply communicate to their customers why they should prefer their brand over competition. Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger asserts why you should eat Frosted Flakes with his catchphrase, “They’re G-r-r-r-eat!” while the Las Vegas tourism department entices visitors with “What happens here, stays here.”

Remember your product — Too many bad slogans are disconnected from the item they are selling. In 1992 the National Livestock and Meat Board launched “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner,” a slogan that clearly states the product being marketed and continues to resonate in Robert Mitchum’s voice.

Brevity — You’ll notice none of the examples above are more than five words. Although there is no official rule, shorter is better: try keeping it under 8 words.

The Bad

Just as a good slogan can boost your brand and remain relevant for decades, a bad one can ruin your brand. Here are a few things a slogan should not be —

Too vague — Using indefinite pronouns such as “better,” or “the best,” is unhelpful to customers and will make your brand sound too vague. A failed Mercedes slogan which read, "The best or nothing," left people confused as did a similar campaign by ADIDAS’ — “Impossible is nothing.”

What’s in it for them? — Your consumers will want to know what the benefits of your product are. Tagline such as Delta Airlines’ “We’ll get you there,” and Ford’s “Drive one” fell on deaf ears simply because there was nothing in it for the customer.

Dishonesty — Campbell’s Soup tried the slogan “Soup is good food” back in 1980, only to get a slap on the wrist by the FDA due to their products’ high sodium content. They reacted by switching back to “Mmm! Mmm! Good!”

Don’t fix what isn’t broken — Maxwell Coffee changed “Good to the last drop,” their slogan since 1915, to “Better beans make better coffee.” Customers weren’t keen on the change and Maxwell eventually switched back. The same thing happened to Burger King when they swapped their infamous “Have it your way” with “Be your way.”

The Ugly

Sometimes, slogans are memorable, but not great…these can fall under what we call the “ugly” category. A few examples:

“What can brown do for you?” — UPS’ unintentional bathroom humor.
“The more you play with it, the harder it gets.” — Who new SEGA was so NSFW?
“I shoot people and pets.” — Ill-phrased photography company.
“Why not enjoy the go?” — Charmin. At least their product belongs in the bathroom.
“Lovin’ beats hatin’.” — The read-headed stepchild of MacDonalds’ original “I’m lovin’ it.”

Conclusion
Your business’s tagline or slogan should be a short, memorable phrase you use regularly for advertising and branding. Taglines have been proven an effective means at drawing attention to the benefits of your product and services. If you feel your slogan — or any aspect of your branding — is outdated, not working for you, or are in need of establishing a new one all together, give us a call! Our team would love to help your business utilize the power of effective and professional branding.
Jul201727

JTech Can Help With WordPress

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Tools & Tips

JTech offers WordPress help.

Are you struggling to manage your WordPress website and can’t seem to get ahold of the developer or design firm that helped you launch it? JTech is happy to announce that we are now offering help to businesses with existing WordPress websites.

Having a broken or hacked site is frustrating and detrimental to your business. It lowers the credibility of your brand and can hinder sales and customer conversations. For example, here are just a few common issues we see on a daily basis:
  • If you have a broken contact form, no one will be able to reach you.
  • If your site is not designed for mobile, you are invisible to over 50% of all internet browsers.
  • If the content on your site is not properly optimized, you will not appear in search results.
  • If your site is bloated and slow, your customers will leave before it even loads.

How We Help
If you feel your business is being held back by your WordPress site, here are a few ways our team can help you get back on track so you can make the most of your investment:

Hosting — JTech will host your site on our own servers. A good hosting provider not only improves the performance of your website, but also utilizes best practices to keep backups, patch known vulnerabilities, and passively monitor your site to keep your business and your customers safe.
Broken Links — Too many broken links on a site can cause your search ranking to suffer! We run tests that identify any broken links on your site and subsequently fix or remove them so they don’t damage your site to keep your ranking in search results.
Functionality — Our development team can thoroughly test your site, ensuring no critical feature is broken. This includes all forms and submissions, and a design that is usable for all devices. If anything is found, we’d be happy to fix it for you so that your customers are provided with the best possible user experience when working with your business.
Content and Optimization — Because JTech has both digital marketing and copywriting departments, the content on your WordPress site is in the best possible hands. Our marketing team will conduct a thorough SEO review backed by keyword and competitor research to best position you in search results, driving traffic to your site. We can also review and copyedit your existing site copy so that it is readable and useful to your customers and indexable by Google and other search engines.
Ongoing Management — We understand managing a website can be a time-consuming technical project that not everyone has time for. JTech would be pleased to set up ongoing support for your WordPress site, updating content as you need it, launching advertisement campaigns — anything necessary to help you succeed.

Conclusion
JTech is always looking for new ways to help clients do business online. If your business wants help with your WordPress site — or another template-driven system such as Joomla or Drupal — give us a call.
Jul201725

Tips for Business to Business Marketing

by Mira Brody in Optimization, Tools & Tips

B2B marketing tips.

While some businesses produce goods to sell directly to consumers, others — JTech being one of them — build products for use by other businesses. This business to business (B2B) relationship requires a special approach to digital marketing and because it relates to our own experience, we thought we’d share a few of our own insights with you.

Content Marketing — Writing for your industry peers is different then writing directly to the consumer. A few ways you can direct your content marketing strategy to attract businesses is through a blog or newsletter. JTech manages our own Web Design and SEO Blog, but we also send out a monthly digest of our posts so the businesses on our mailing list can easily peruse the articles we’ve written by headline.

When writing, we consider the how our posts can answer questions or create value for the reader. One of our more popular resources is the documentation for a tool we created to work with the flowchart application OmniGraffle — jtCount. These articles are not only helpful to business owners, but also build authority among our industry peers.

Facebook's audience settings.
Facebook's audience settings.
Social Media — Your business is likely already using social media, but there are a few simple tweaks that can make your approach more effective for business-to-business communication. You can start by making sure all of your pages are verified and customizing the audience settings. For example, with a Facebook business page, you can specify who you are targeting under Preferred Page Audience. Much as we do with our blog, JTech uses Facebook to target industry peers by publishing tools and tips that we think may be helpful to them. Curate content — such as a blog or newsletter as mentioned above — and use your social platform to easily distribute it.

A couple other social platforms you may consider for reaching decision makers in your industry are LinkedIn and Google+. LinkedIn aims content at businesses and business owners, pushing popular articles to their newsfeed based on industry type, and Google+ has Communities, where you can connect with other businesses and post content and discussion topics within a common community interest. If you are interested in more on this topic, here are a few, easy-to-implement thoughts on how to best use social media to your advantage.

Site Optimization — Optimizing your site for other business owners requires research on what products and services you can provide and optimizing your site for keywords that will fit your target businesses. Keyword research then informs the site's architecture and workflow, allowing you to guide your business clients to the most relevant parts of your site — often utilizing landing pages to focus your message.

Landing Pages — When you have a clear sense of what your business customers are searching for, a focused landing page with specific content written to solve their problem can be the perfect way to attract those businesses. JTech's digital strategy utilizes landing pages based on both region and service. Our regional landing page campaigns include businesses in Butte, Billings, and Jackson Hole, while our service-focused landing pages target those searching for web design, web development and SEO.

Analytics — Carefully monitor your website’s Analytics to determine where your traffic is coming from and what content they are most interested in. You can then adjust your marketing strategy to work to these insights and launch ad campaigns that target those businesses that find your site useful. If you want to unlock the power of Analytics check out our guide to Analytics' capabilities and a more detailed breakdown of the five Analytics you should be watching.

Conclusion
The focus of marketing to other businesses is about positioning your company within your industry to be found by businesses seeking your services. You can do this by catering your digital marketing strategy toward your industry peers through content marketing, social media and many other channels — consistently presenting the way you can help other businesses achieve their goals. Through our business to business relationships, our team builds solutions through the creation of websites and web apps so that our business clients can better serve their customers. If you are in need of a custom solution for your business or would like to revisit your digital strategy to ensure you are targeting the correct market, give JTech a call.
Jul201721

Support in My JTech

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development, Tools & Tips

New support articles in My JTech.

If you’re a user of My JTech, our custom content management system, we just added several helpful support articles, accessible under the Support navigation item after you log in. These articles will assist you in managing your website by walking you through the various tools My JTech has to offer.

Here are the new and revised support articles you’ll find in My JTech:
The Basics of Website Management
  • Overview & Introduction to My JTech
  • Organizing Your Favorites
  • The Database List View
  • Feedback & Support

Editing a Page or Record
  • Editing Text
  • File Attachment Tool
  • Metadata
  • The Image Editor

Using the Mass Mailing System
  • Address Book
  • Setting Up a Mailing List
  • Sending Newsletters

We encourage you to read through these informative articles — you may not only understand My JTech better, but also learn something new!
Jul201719

Updates to the YMCA Website

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

YMCA website changes.

To help prepare the Gallatin Valley YMCA in Bozeman for their transition into a brand-new campus, we’ve implemented a few changes to their existing website. Leading up to their grand opening, the YMCA has been hard at work trying to reach the fundraising goal for their Capital Campaign.

With these website additions, donors can now purchase one of the following: Name a Place, Buy a Brick, Buy a Tree, Park a Bike or Display a Work of Art. Descriptions of each can be found on their Capital Campaign page and they can be purchased directly on the Give page. Once you select an item, you can enter your engraving of choice on the gifts that include an engraved plaque.

We are always happy to work with the Gallatin Valley YMCA and are excited for the grand opening of their new facility!
Jul201717

A Fresh Coat of Paint for Bennett Painting

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Local Bozeman, MT painting contractor gets a new website.

Bennett Painting get a new website.

Bennett Painting is a professional contractor, and has been painting interior, exterior and commercial properties in the Bozeman community for over 30 years. The Bennett team believes in honest work, exceptional customer service and that a fresh coat of paint can be a fresh start for your home or business.

The Bennett Painting website was designed and developed as part of our Bozeman Websites product line. First custom-designed by our designers, our development team had a lot of fun bringing this website to life, ensuring a pleasant experience for all of Bennett’s current and potential customers. This site includes a section describing different painting services, complete with a service detail where before and after photography is displayed. These services can be edited and additional ones added by the Bennett staff through our content management system, My JTech. Also included in this single-page scrolling website is a contact form so that inquiring customers can easily get in touch.

We had a great time building this website and are confidant it will serve Bennett Painting for many years to come!
Jul20177

Safari Launches New Tracking Prevention Feature

by Mira Brody in Industry News

Safari enables tracking prevention.

While Google is off building new ways to make more money out of the personal data they collect from their users, Apple — a direct competitor in certain areas — is seeking out methods to further protect their customers from being tracked online. WebKit, the framework behind the Safari Browser, is launching a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention which works to limit cookies and other ways websites track their visitors. This feature protects Safari’s users as well as improving their experience online — trackers can expose personal browsing activity and bloat the time it takes to load a page.

What This Means For Safari Users
Popular websites you visit every day utilize something called cross-tracking and third party cookies. This means if you’re shopping on macys.com, then switch to amazon.com, your browser will have stored third party cookies that allow Amazon to know exactly what you were looking for at Macy’s, impacting the products and prices you see. Airlines take similar actions when users are comparing prices for fares — tracking your destinations, dates traveling and sites visited will then alter the fare prices the longer you search.

Although it sounds innocent enough, websites are constantly collecting data about your online habits and then sharing it with other companies. Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention protects you somewhat from this unwarranted invasion.

How it Works
This new feature collects information from page loads and user interactions and stores it in a silo for each privately-controlled domain name. When you visit a site, WebKit classifies whether that domain name tracks users, and keeps track of how recently you interacted with that domain. Information is then purged on a set timeline:
  • Within 24 hours of visiting a website (for instance Facebook), cookies from that site can be used on another site. This allows you to do things like post comments using your Facebook profile on a third-party website. 
  • After 24 hours have passed since you visited a website, its cookies become unavailable for use on other websites. In our Facebook example, this means Facebook would not be able to continue tracking your activity around the web — and that you wouldn't be pre-authenticated to use your Facebook credentials for the third-party website's comments. Because its cookies were still being stored (in a secure “silo”), Facebook’s website would still remember your credentials when you you visited facebook.com.
  • After 30 days, if you have not visited a website, any cookies being stored by that site are then purged entirely.

Over time, this ensures that the only cookies tracking your behavior are from the sites you use most, whereas everything else is automatically dumped without you having to worry about it.

You Should Value Your Privacy
Apple is aware that websites need on-device storage such as cookies in order to provide the optimal user experience — their goal is to strike a healthy balance between this reality and your privacy. For more information, check out WebKit’s official article announcing this Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature.
Jul20175

Project Owl’s Attack on ‘Fake News’

by Mira Brody in Google, Industry News

Google's Project Owl target's fake news.

Project Owl is an undertaking by Google to reduce the amount of misinformation and hate speech online. Google stated on their blog, “The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of ‘fake news,’ where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.” The internet is an easy channel by which to distribute misinformation, and Google has taken on the role of trying to filter it out.

Although currently only 0.25% of Google’s daily search queries yield results that fit their definition of “fake news,” they recently faced backlash over a slew of controversial search results, including conflicting answers to scientifically established facts and top results that deny the Holocaust. From algorithm updates to user feedback, here is an overview of the ways Project Owl is helping boost the authenticity of their search results.

User Feedback — The biggest change from Project Owl is the ability to leave search result feedback using the “Report inappropriate predictions” link in Autocomplete or the “Feedback” link under Search Snippets.

Autocomplete user feedback link.
An example of the report link under Autocomplete…

Search snippet feedback link.
…And a feedback link under a Search Snippet.

Project Owl feedback form.
Project Owl feedback form.
These feedback links open a questionnaire, asking for more information. Google plans to use this feedback to improve their search algorithm.

Search Ranking — Project Owl underlines efforts to ensure trusted sources and authoritative content with higher search ranking appear in top results. Evaluators — real people behind the scenes who work with Google — are tasked with gathering data about the quality of results. Updated Search Quality Rater Guidelines provide details of what low-quality webpages look like so that these raters can flag them appropriately. Examples of low-quality content would include: misleading information, offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These updates will solve problem search results like the Holocaust denial scandal back in December in which a white supremacist site was used as a reputable source.

Transparency — Lastly, Google is publishing their content policy publicly so that users understand exactly how Autocomplete, Search Snippets and other search features operate. They also released the article “How Search Works” to provide users with in-depth information about what happens behind the scenes of every search query.

What the means for marketers.
For those on the content marketing side of these algorithm updates, site authority will be your most powerful tool. Produce high-quality content and share it on other reputable websites, focusing on authoritative inbound and outbound links. Also, it is good to note that with the new user feedback tool, Google will only remove rich snippets in response to a large amount of negative feedback, so as long as your content is generally regarded highly, you will not be punished for a handful of negative reports.

Of the 40,000 searches they receive every second, only a small sliver provide problematic results. Because of this, Project Owl is a more concentrated effort toward Google’s overall mission statement, which is "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” While we should always hold a certain level of skepticism when browsing the internet for factual data, it is important to know that Google is attempting to do some of the work for us — and giving us tools to improve the experience for ourselves and others.
Jul20173

A New Website for Four Corners Pawn

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

A new website by JTech.

Four Corners Pawn is a pawn shop in Four Corners, Montana. They serve the Gallatin Canyon and Bozeman area with professional, efficient and secure pawn services — whether you need fast cash, a loan or are shopping around for products, owner Shawn Hanson, with his 20 years in the industry, and the rest of his team are happy to serve you.

Four Corners Pawn was recently purchased by new owners and needed a new website that represented their rebranding. Their marketing goals include drawing in more customers from Bozeman as well as serving as a pawn loan resource for those not only in need, but also those wanting cash for home improvement and personal vacations. Our team built for them a new website that will not only reach these audiences and list new products available in the store, but also includes an advanced contact form. The contact form adapts to the user’s needs, whether they have a question, are requesting a quote or reporting a stolen item. Check out their new website today!